Initial user reviews of Soundbeam
Classroom Music review of Soundbeam 5 (pdf)
Article published in Classroom Music, spring term 1 2010/11 issue. Classroom Music is joining forces with Music Teacher magazine. For more info/to subscribe, visit www.musicteachermagazine.co.uk
" ...an incredibly exciting new development in music making; the concept of an ‘all-in-one’ sensor/switch unit that behaves musically, especially without a computer, is one that we have all been waiting for...Soundbeam 2 retains operational simplicity at the initial stage but offers so much more scope when the user gets deeper into the instrument...Looks fantastic and feels robust...I showed the unit to an amateur musician with serious technophobia who happily started changing presets herself.....The price difference between Soundbeam 1 and Soundbeam 2 is incredibly reasonable for all the additional features offered in Soundbeam 2...the additional cost of the Switchbox also seems very cheap....CONGRATULATIONS to all at Soundbeam..."
Clare Smith, Drake Music Project
"..represents a quantum leap beyond Soundbeam 1...Since it is capable of transmitting up to 12 channels of MIDI at once, a chain of multitimbral synthesisers, samplers and lighting setups can be run from a single controller...It also has a lot to offer as an instrument for a solo performer - for example, one beam containing note sequences, one dedicated to chordal material, a third as a volume control and a fourth to control pitchbend or modulation, plus switches to control filter, resonance, portamento, sustain etc....One test that I apply to any piece of equipment that is new to me is 'How far can I get without looking at the manual?' and I found that the Soundbeam 2 scored quite highly in this respect......I am extremely impressed"
Pete McPhail, Composer and Musician
...I quickly realised that the machine has enormous potential for live use 'on the hoof' which is the way I like to work...I'm a big fan of changing parameters live so like having a rotary control instead of increment buttons which are a pain in live situations...despite having loads more buttons than the Soundbeam 1 the machine is still capable of 'plug and play' operation...Being able to change the number of divisions is massively useful for giving a performer something they can understand, starting from one note and expanding from that.....it doesn't crash all the time and worked first time with everything I plugged into it unlike anything else currently on the market, so it seems to be fairly 'bomb proof' even in the middle of BEAST's 48 loudspeaker rig with loads of interference and cabling all over the place....Since I discovered Soundbeam I have been very excited by the creative possibilities it offers for a meaningful relationship between sound and movement...Most electronic instruments are designed for a single person to control lots of sounds, the new Soundbeam allows 12 people to effectively play the same instrument and interact musically...it also has greater potential for controlling to a sophisticated degree events other than 'note on / note off' MIDI instructions so that the relationship between sound and movement can be articulated in subtle ways such as changes in filtering or spatial location....I found it easy to set up and use"
Duncan Chapman, Composer, Teacher and Musician
...a new kind of MIDI controller altogether. It has skipped several generations of possible descendants from its now primitive (but great) Soundbeam parent. It is quite simply - stunning! Soundbeam 2 may have the looks and shape of the Dan Dare era, but I love it and the way it handles. The 'wheel of fortune', the red flashing lights, the green screen and the handy array of buttons make flying around it both quick, highly logical, and safe...It is clearly digital, but has some of the old analogue feel...the new articulations are inspired, and the new controllers with their selection of sources and parameters are a complete breakthrough in Soundbeam control. Note Velocity is a cracker and I'm discovering a whole range of things that I did not know my modules could do. Backwards pitchbend and the worlds of After Touch are now available to anyone and they are awesome. The new Sequences and Divisions are exactly what you need! These are the building blocks of music....Loading your own ideas is a dream! You can move around anywhere on a keyboard playing phrases and chords straight into the beam...The MIDI flexibility is total and allows different sequences and articulations in each beam...the long range spatial possibilities are exciting.....the capacity for new creativity with Soundbeam 2 knows no bounds..there will surely be some mighty new and beautiful Soundbeam 2 music to see and hear this year."